Young people across Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area participated in an event to mark Local Democracy Week at Craigavon Civic Centre on Wednesday 14 October.
Twenty one young people from local post primary schools met with councillors and officers at the new Council’s first local democracy event to tell them their views on how services could be improved for young people.
Lord Mayor of Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon, Councillor Darryn Causby said: “This has been a very enjoyable event and the students have shown great interest and enthusiasm by providing us with their ideas on how to improve council services and make Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council a better place for young people to live and study.
“I believe today’s event has benefited all participants. We have entered a new era for local government and there is a great opportunity for the council to incorporate the views of these young people in the development of its services.”
A range of topics were discussed including the Lord Mayoral role, environmental health issues, investing for health initiatives and two of the new council functions, planning and community planning.
Students were then challenged with scenario questions to consider how they would plan and deliver these services if they held the political reins.
Five presentations detailing exactly how this could be achieved were presented to councillors Garath Keating, Colin McCusker and Margaret Tinsley and their student peers in the Council’s new Chamber were some lively debate took place.
The students did not disappoint and presented a range of innovative ideas on how to improve and deliver services.
They identified programmes to support teenagers to become more involved in physical activity, advised the Council on their expectations of the Council’s new Planning service and presented a range of options on how to involve young people in the community planning process.
They also provided the Lord Mayor with ideas on how to recognise volunteers across the larger council area.
This event was one of many which took place across Northern Ireland to mark Local Democracy Week, which aims to make councils more relevant to young people, dispel apathy and encourage interest in local politics.